Seven Kingdoms

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Seven Kingdoms
Feudal monarchy
Seven Kingdoms.png
The provinces of the Seven Kingdoms after Aegon's Conquest, from top-left to bottom-right:
the north, the Iron Islands, the riverlands, the Vale of Arryn, the westerlands, the crownlands, the Reach, the stormlands, and Dorne.
Location Westeros, south of the Wall
Capital King's Landing
Type of Government Feudal monarchy
Ruler King of the Andals, the Rhoynar, and the First Men
Religion Faith of the Seven
Old gods (North)
Drowned God (Iron Islands)
Founded 1 AC
Preceded by Lordship of Dragonstone
Kingdom of the North
Kingdom of the Isles and the Rivers
Kingdom of Mountain and Vale
Kingdom of the Rock
Kingdom of the Reach
Kingdom of the Storm
Principality of Dorne (187 AC)
Notable places Red Keep
Great Sept of Baelor
Citadel
Wall
Oldtown
Notable organizations Night's Watch
Maesters
Faith of the Seven
Kingsguard
Small council

The Seven Kingdoms is a realm located on the continent of Westeros, ruled by the Lord of the Seven Kingdoms, the king who sits on the Iron Throne in the capital city, King's Landing. Its name derives from the situation three centuries ago when Aegon the Conqueror set to unite the lands of Westeros, which then contained seven independent realms. The new kingdom created from Aegon's Conquest contains nine distinct regions or provinces.[1]

Terminology

Throughout thousands of years of history, the continent of Westeros was often divided amongst a multitude of monarchs and realms, including the so-called Age of the Hundred Kingdoms. The term "Seven Kingdoms" derives from the situation in Westeros just prior to Aegon's Conquest three centuries ago, when most of the continent had been consolidated under the rule of seven great monarchs:[2]

House Stark.svg Torrhen Stark, King in the North
House Arryn.svg Ronnel Arryn, King of Mountain and Vale
House Hoare.svg Harren Hoare, King of the Isles and the Rivers
House Lannister.svg Loren I Lannister, King of the Rock
House Gardener.svg Mern IX Gardener, King of the Reach
House Baratheon.svg Argilac Durrandon, the Storm King
House Martell.svg Meria Martell, Princess of Dorne

Although the term refers to seven kingdoms, Dorne was ruled by by a princess instead of a king. Additionally, the term omitted the island "kingdom" of Dragonstone, which was ruled by the sovereign Lords of Dragonstone from House Targaryen,[2] and the lands beyond the Wall.

Aegon I Targaryen and his sisters, Visenya and Rhaenys Targaryen, conquered only six of the seven kingdoms, consolidating them under the rule of House Targaryen and the Iron Throne. Among the titles that Aegon received when crowned King of the Andals, the Rhoynar, and the First Men in the Starry Sept in Oldtown, however, was "Lord of the Seven Kingdoms". Aegon and his successor laid claim to Dorne, the seventh realm, though in truth the Iron Throne would not add Dorne to its domains for another two centuries, when the southernmost land joined through peacefully through marriage.[3]

Great Houses

Due to the vast size of the new kingdom, in each region Aegon I Targaryen raised Great Houses who swore fealty to him. The lords were granted a degree of autonomy and granted authority over their bannermen and smallfolk.[3] Wardens are generals who defend their regions.[4]

Aegon established his new realm's capital on the spot of his landing at the mouth of the Blackwater Rush, for which it was known as King's Landing. The area around King's Landing, which had also been a battleground between several kingdoms, constituted the royal demesne and became known as the crownlands. Within the crownlands, Dragonstone was successively granted to the heir apparent to the throne, the Prince of Dragonstone.

Houses that survived the Conquest

House Stark.svg House Stark of Winterfell chose to submit and was confirmed as overlords over the north and Wardens of the North.
House Arryn.svg House Arryn of the Eyrie submitted and retained the Vale of Arryn as Wardens of the East.
House Lannister.svg House Lannister of Casterly Rock was allowed to keep their family holdings in the westerlands after they bent the knee, following defeat at the Field of Fire. The Lannisters became Wardens of the West.
House Martell.svg House Nymeros Martell of Sunspear retained their independence in Dorne for a time. When the Martells eventually joined the Seven Kingdoms, they were allowed to retain their title of Prince of Dorne.

Houses established by the Conquest

House Targaryen.svg House Targaryen of Dragonstone obtained dominion over most of Westeros, and settled in King's Landing in the newly-established crownlands.
House Tully.svg House Tully of Riverrun was awarded rule of the riverlands as Lords Paramount of the Trident, for supporting Aegon against House Hoare.[5]
House Greyjoy.svg House Greyjoy of Pyke was named Lords of the Iron Islands after Aegon's invasion of the Iron Islands.[6]
House Tyrell.svg House Tyrell was granted Highgarden and rule over the Reach as Lords Paramount of the Mander and Wardens of the South after the extinction of House Gardener.[5]
House Baratheon.svg House Baratheon married into the Durrandons of Storm's End and was awarded the stormlands as Lord Paramount of the Stormlands, after the defeat of the Storm King Argilac the Arrogant.[5]

Royal bureaucracy

Small council meeting during the reign of King Robert I Baratheon, by Thomas Denmark © Fantasy Flight Games

The small council, advisers to the king who sits the Iron Throne, began during the era of King Aegon I Targaryen and became a more formal institution in the reign of King Jaehaerys I Targaryen.[7]

Hand of the King

The Hand of the King is the monarch's chief adviser and servant.[8]

Grand Maester

The Grand Maester is sent by the Citadel to advise the monarch on matters relating to the kingdom's governance.[7]

Treasury

The master of coin or lord treasurer sit on the small council and oversees the treasury for the kingdom. He has authority over:

Justice

The master of laws or lord justiciar sits on the small council and oversees the law and justice for the kingdom. He has authority over:

Navy

The master of ships or lord admiral sits on the small council and oversees the royal fleet for the kingdom. He has authority over:

  • Captains of the royal fleet

Intelligence

The master of whisperers, the spymaster on the small council, gathers intelligence for the king.[10]

Lord Commander of the Kingsguard

Kingsguard of Robert I Baratheon, by Jason Engle ©

The Lord Commander sits on the small council and leads the Kingsguard, seven prestigious knights who guard the king.[11]

Other offices

Regions and Territory

Building Season, by Tomasz Jedruszek © Fantasy Flight Games

Despite its name, the Seven Kingdoms is a realm divided into nine administrative regions[13] or provinces:[1]

If seven "kingdoms" were to be counted from among the nine provinces, the regions included would appear to be Dorne, the north, the Reach, the riverlands, the stormlands, the Vale, and the westerlands.[14]

The realm's territory includes all but the northernmost lands on the continent of Westeros, where the Wall defines its northern border. The king on the Iron Throne also controls the many islands off the coast of Westeros, such as the Arbor, Bear Island, Claw Isle, Dragonstone, Driftmark, Estermont, the Shields, Skagos, Tarth, and the Three Sisters. The kingdom has occasionally been drawn into conflicts over the Stepstones off its southeastern coast, but it has rarely controlled a significant portion of them.

The Night's Watch guards the Wall in the north.[15] The lands beyond the Wall, however, do not recognize the authority of the Iron Throne. The free folk who live in the far north consider the people of the Seven Kingdoms to be kneelers, while Westerosi think of the free folk as uncivilized savages.[16]

Population

The population of the Seven Kingdoms numbers in the millions.[3] The monarch on the Iron Throne uses the title King of the Andals, the Rhoynar, and the First Men, referring to the major ethnic groups from which most Westerosi descend.

The Reach is the most populous of the Seven Kingdoms,[17] while Dorne is the least populous.[18] The north, due to its large size, is also regarded as thinly peopled.[17]

Settlements

King's Landing, by Tomasz Jedruszek © Fantasy Flight Games

The kingdom is speckled with castles, holdfasts, towns, and villages, but only five settlements can be called cities. Listed in decreasing order of size, they are:

King's Landing is the youngest of the five cities. It started in 2 BC as a small town, but within two years grew into a village with a few thousand people in it. By 10 AC, it had grown almost as large as Gulltown and White Harbor, and could be called a city. By 25 AC, it had surpassed both cities.[7] By 33 AC, King's Landing's population had grown to a hundred thousand.[19] During the reign of Jaehaerys I Targaryen (48103 AC), the population of King's Landing increased fourfold.[20] Eventually, although similar in size, King's Landing became even more populous than Oldtown,[21] and with its population of approximately half a million[22] is now considered the most populous city of the Seven Kingdoms.[21]

Oldtown is the eldest of the cities. Its origins are lost in the mists of time in the Dawn Age, extending back to when the First Men first settled in Westeros, if not earlier. By the time of the coming of the Andals, Oldtown was already considered a city.[23] Today, it is still the largest and richest city in the Seven Kingdoms, although King's Landing has more people.[21]

Lannisport is the second oldest of the cities, founded by the descendants of Lann the Clever. Within a few generations it quickly grew from village to town to city. By the coming of the Andals, Lannisport had become the second-largest city in Westeros.[23] It currently is the third-largest city in the Seven Kingdoms.[N 1]

Gulltown and White Harbor are the smallest cities of the kingdom. Gulltown was a prosperous port-town which grew into one of the foremost cities of the realm under the rule of House Arryn.[24] White Harbor is newer than Oldtown, Lannisport, and Gulltown, having been built after House Manderly came north following their exile from the Reach.[25] White Harbor is the north's only city, and the smallest city in the Seven Kingdoms.[2]

Prominent towns in the realm include Barrowton, Duskendale, Fairmarket, Hull, Lordsport, Maidenpool, the Planky Town, Saltpans, Sisterton, Stoney Sept, the Weeping Town, and the winter town.

Culture

A skirmisher from Starfall, by Tikos Peter © Fantasy Flight Games

The people of the Seven Kingdoms are a mixture of several ethnic groups which have migrated to Westeros over the centuries and intermarried over hundreds and thousands of years.[26] As such these original ethnicities are more of a blurred trend than firm political units. Today they are mostly identified through their place of residence, where each kingdom retains its unique flavor.

The influence of the Andals is strongest in the south, while the northmen still follow many customs of the First Men. The traditions of chivalric knighthood and courtly singers are said to have originated in the Reach.[17] Dornishmen are heavily influenced by the mass immigration of the Rhoynar, who according to legend were led to Westeros by Nymeria on ten thousand ships.[27] Small groups, such as the ironborn of the Iron Islands and the Vale mountain clans in the Mountains of the Moon, maintain different cultures from the rest of the realm.

The most common language in the kingdom is the Common Tongue.[28] Unlike their counterparts in Essos, Westerosi nobles take pride in their heraldry.[29] Exiled and adventurous Westerosi warriors have been known to serve in sellsword companies in Essos, such as the Golden Company,[30] the Windblown,[31] the Second Sons,[32] the Company of the Rose,[33] and the Wolf Pack.[34]

The people of the Seven Kingdoms follow several different faiths.

  • The Drowned God, the indigenous deity of the Iron Islands, is a harsh deity who rewards those who plunder in his name.[38]
  • R'hllor, the red god, is a deity popular in Essos but little-known in Westeros, although gaining in popularity. The followers of R'hllor claim their deity is the Lord of Light and will stand against the Great Other, the god of darkness and cold, in a war that is to come.[39]

Law and Justice

Feudal society is based on the model of the old kingdoms on which the Targaryen dynasty was built with each region retaining some sovereign rights and ruled by Great Houses whose high lords answer only to the king. Many traditional customs have endured in the regions,[13] although some kings, such as Jaehaerys I Targaryen[20] and Aegon V Targaryen,[40] have attempted to reform the realm's laws.

Commerce and Currency

Depiction of a gold dragon of King Jaehaerys I Targaryen, by Tom Maringer © Shire Post Mint

Most transactions in the Seven Kingdoms involve currency. The coinage is minted by the master of coin appointed by the king on the Iron Throne. There are golden dragons, silver stags, and copper stars. Golden dragons are worth the most and have a dragon stamped on one side and a king's face on the other.[41] Most smallfolk would never own a gold dragon, using mostly copper stars for their needs.

Trade varies in the Seven Kingdoms; the products of Dorne are different from those of the north, for instance. Grain, meat, and fish from local area can be found at markets. Since transport is expensive and can be dangerous, long distance trade is almost entirely in luxuries, such as furs from the north or silks and gems from the south. Transport by land is around ten times as expensive as transport by ships, which means that almost all goods travel by river or coastal ship for at least part of their journey.[42][43]

The kingdom chiefly trades with the Free Cities across the narrow sea,[44] and ships from the Summer Isles[45] and Ibben[46] also visit Westerosi ports.

History

Wars of Conquest

Aegon I with his sister-queens Visenya (left) and Rhaenys (right), by Amok ©

The continent of Westeros was once divided among a multitude of monarchs in the Age of the Hundred Kingdoms, but over time the land was consolidated into seven major realms.[2] Aegon Targaryen, Lord of Dragonstone, and his sisters, Visenya and Rhaenys, invaded the continent, with Aegon demanding the submission of the mainland's monarchs.[5]

Aegon's Conquest began with House Targaryen landing at the mouth of the Blackwater Rush, and Aegon was crowned King of All Westeros at the Aegonfort. Aegon then extinguished Harren the Black and House Hoare with the burning of Harrenhal, ending the Kings of the Isles and the Rivers. Aegon granted the riverlands to House Tully. Meanwhile, Argilac Durrandon, the Storm King, was killed in the Last Storm by Orys Baratheon in the stormlands, with House Baratheon replacing House Durrandon.[5]

At the Field of Fire, the Targaryen siblings used their dragonsBalerion, Vhagar, and Meraxes—to defeat the armies of the Two Kings. Mern IX, King of the Reach, and his family from House Gardener were extinguished in the dragonflame, while Loren I, King of the Rock, surrendered the next day. Aegon granted Highgarden and the Reach to House Tyrell, and he allowed the defeated House Lannister to retain their rule in the westerlands. Aegon then met the host of Torrhen Stark, King in the North, at the Trident. Aware of Harrenhal's fate, Torrhen knelt to Aegon instead of engaging in a pitched battle.[5]

Visenya flew to the Eyrie in the Vale of Arryn, where she achieved the submission of Ronnel, the last King of Mountain and Vale from House Arryn. Rhaenys was sent south to Dorne, but Meria Martell, Princess of Dorne, refused to join Aegon's realm.[5]

The High Septon advised Lord Manfred Hightower to welcome Aegon to Oldtown, and the new king's reign is regarded by maesters as having begun with his coronation in that city as King of the Andals, the Rhoynar, and the First Men, Lord of the Seven Kingdoms, and Protector of the Realm.[5]

The Sistermen's Rebellion in the Three Sisters was quickly defeated by Visenya and Ser Warrick Manderly, and Aegon led an invasion of the Iron Islands to put an end to the civil war among the ironborn. In 2 AC, Aegon allowed House Greyjoy to rule the Iron Islands.[6]

Since Dorne had refused to submit during Aegon's Conquest, the Targaryens began the First Dornish War in 4 AC. Queen Rhaenys and Meraxes were killed at the Hellholt in the bloody war, and Orys was mutilated by House Wyl. Despite the burning of the Dornish castles with dragonflame, the Dornish refused to surrender. After the passing of Meria in 13 AC, Aegon finally agreed to a peace with Prince Nymor Martell, with Dorne remaining independent.[6]

Iron Throne

The Iron Throne by Marc Simonetti ©

Instead of Oldtown or Dragonstone, King Aegon I Targaryen made the new city of King's Landing the capital of his kingdom, with the swords of his defeated foes made into the Iron Throne.[7] The crownlands were created out of territory near the mouth of the Blackwater Rush and along Blackwater Bay.

Aegon encouraged included nobles and their children from throughout the land to serve at court, and the Targaryens encouraged marriages between disparate families in an effort to unite the formerly-independent realms. Aegon the Conqueror spent much of his reign learning about the peculiarities of each province during his many royal progresses, and he often left alone the laws and customs already in place.[7]

Aenys and Maegor

Soon after ascending the throne, King Aenys I Targaryen was faced with the rebellions of Jonos Arryn in the Vale, Harren the Red in the riverlands, Lodos the Twice-Drowned in the Iron Islands. Lord Orys Baratheon helped suppress the Vulture King in the Second Dornish War.[19]

The Faith Militant uprising began during the reign of Aenys I and continued through the reign of his brother, Maegor I Targaryen. Aenys's heir, Aegon the Uncrowned, was defeated by Maegor in the Battle Beneath the Gods Eye. Most of the realm eventually turned against Maegor the Cruel, however, and the king was found dead on the Iron Throne.[19]

Jaehaerys the Conciliator

The uprising of the Faith Militant finally ended after the ascension of King Jaehaerys I Targaryen.[47] In 55 AC, Jaehaerys and his advisers began work on the first unified code of law for the realm; Septon Barth contributed greatly to the Great Code.[20] A terrible case of the Shivers spread through the realm in 5960 AC.[48] Construction of the kingsroad began in 62 AC during Jaehaerys's reign.[48] The Old King dealt with another Vulture King in the Third Dornish War in 61 AC,[49] and then defeated the Fourth Dornish War in 83 AC.[49]

More than a thousand lords traveled to Harrenhal for the Great Council of 101 AC, during which Prince Viserys Targaryen was chosen to be Jaehaerys's heir.[50]

The Dance of the Dragons

Prince Daemon Targaryen, the younger brother of King Viserys I Targaryen, began his war for the Stepstones in 106 AC.[50]

The death of Viserys in 129 AC began the civil war known as the Dance of the Dragons. Throughout the realm, the blacks of Rhaenyra Targaryen battled the greens of Aegon II Targaryen. Both claimants died during the war, which ended with Aegon III Targaryen, Rhaenyra's son, sitting the Iron Throne.[51] Dalton Greyjoy, Lord of the Iron Islands, continued to occupy parts of the westerlands after the war ended, and a succession struggle broke out in the Iron Islands after his death.[52]

The Winter Fever struck the realm in 132133 AC during the regency of Aegon III.[34] The last dragon of House Targaryen died in 153 AC during Aegon's reign, so he became known as the Dragonbane.[53]

The Young Dragon and Baelor the Blessed

King Daeron I Targaryen began his conquest of Dorne in 157 AC, and he achieved the Submission of Sunspear the following year. The Dornishmen rose in rebellion, however, and the Young Dragon was killed while meeting under a peace banner.[54]

King Baelor I Targaryen traveled to Dorne to make peace and secure the release of Prince Aemon the Dragonknight.[55] Baelor the Blessed began construction of the Great Sept in King's Landing, which would became the new seat for the Faith of the Seven.[55]

Aegon the Unworthy and Daeron II

King Aegon IV Targaryen is often regarded as one of the worst rulers of the Seven Kingdoms. The king granted Blackfyre, one of the Valyrian steel swords of House Targaryen to Ser Daemon Waters, one of his bastards, instead of awarding it to his heir. On his deathbed, Aegon the Unworthy legitimized all of his bastards, including the Great Bastards, those born to noble women.[56]

In 187 AC, Dorne peacefully joined the Seven Kingdoms through the marriage of Princess Daenerys Targaryen, sister of King Daeron II Targaryen, to Maron Martell, Prince of Dorne.[57]

Barthogan Stark, Lord of Winterfell, was killed while suppressing a rebellion of the Skagosi.[58]

Blackfyre Rebellions

Daemon I Blackfyre, by Mike Hallstein ©

Some lords hated the inclusion of Dornishmen at court, and they preferred the legitimized Daemon Blackfyre over the peaceable King Daeron II Targaryen. Supported by Ser Aegor Rivers, another of the Great Bastards, Daemon led the First Blackfyre Rebellion in 196 AC. The civil war ended with Daemon being struck down by Brynden Rivers, a Great Bastard called Bloodraven, in the Battle of the Redgrass Field.[57][59] Aegor, called Bittersteel, survived the battle and went into exile in the Free Cities.[59]

The Great Spring Sickness killed tens of thousands in the realm in 209210 AC.[59]

Bittersteel did not participate in the ill-fated Second Blackfyre Rebellion, which occurred at the wedding tourney at Whitewalls,[60] but he did lead the Third Blackfyre Rebellion in support of Haegon I Blackfyre. The Targaryens triumphed over House Blackfyre again, however. After being freed while en route to the Wall, Aegor returned to Essos and founded the Golden Company.[61]

Raymun Redbeard led a host of wildlings past the Wall in 226 AC, but they were eventually defeated in a battle at Long Lake.[62]

Aegon the Unlikely

After the death of King Maekar I Targaryen in the Peake Uprising, a Great Council was called in 233 AC to choose his successor. Aenys Blackfyre arrived in King's Landing to peacefully put forward his claim, but Bloodraven had him seized and executed. Maekar's fourth son was chosen, becoming King Aegon V Targaryen, and the new king sent Bloodraven to join the Night's Watch.[56]

The Fourth Blackfyre Rebellion was one of several rebellions which Aegon the Unlikely was forced to confront. His efforts to help smallfolk through reform and rights made him popular with commoners, but his plans often provoked resistance from the realm's lords.[40]

Aegon and many of those closest to him were killed in the tragedy at Summerhall in 259 AC.[40]

War of the Ninepenny Kings

After conquering Tyrosh and the Stepstones, the Band of Nine set the Seven Kingdoms as their next target. Lord Ormund Baratheon led the defense of the realm on behalf of King Jaehaerys II Targaryen in the War of the Ninepenny Kings. Ormund was killed by Maelys I Blackfyre in the conflict, but Ser Barristan Selmy avenged him by slaying Maelys on the Stepstones.[63]

Aerys and Tywin

Aerys II Targaryen, by Jennifer Drummond ©

King Aerys II Targaryen named his friend Ser Tywin Lannister, who had swiftly crushed the Reyne-Tarbeck revolt, to be his Hand of the King. The realm prospered from their partnership, with Tywin building new roads, holding tourneys, winning the support of merchants, and cultivating trade with the Free Cities. Tywin also rescinded many of Aegon V's efforts to help the smallfolk. Some came to say that it was Tywin who actually ruled the Seven Kingdoms.[64][65]

Aerys's mental health declined greatly after the Defiance of Duskendale in 277 AC,[66] and he eventually had a falling out with Tywin, Lord of Casterly Rock.[64]

Ser Arthur Dayne, the Sword of the Morning and a knight of the Kingsguard, helped to defeat the Kingswood Brotherhood.[64] The tourney at Harrenhal in 281 AC, the year of the false spring, was a splendid gathering of the realm's nobility, which included even the reclusive Aerys.[67]

Robert's Rebellion

The abduction of Lyanna Stark by Rhaegar Targaryen, Prince of Dragonstone, led to King Aerys II Targaryen executing Lyanna's father Rickard Stark, Lord of Winterfell, and Brandon Stark. Aerys then ordered Jon Arryn, Lord of the Eyrie, to kill his wards, Eddard Stark and Robert I Baratheon, Lord of Storm's End. Lord Arryn refused, however, beginning Robert's Rebellion, also known as the War of the Usurper. Hoster Tully, Lord of Riverrun, arranged for his daughters, Catelyn and Lysa, to wed Eddard and Jon. Stannis Baratheon defended against the siege of Storm's End by Mace Tyrell, Lord of Highgarden.[68]

Robert Baratheon and Rhaegar Targaryen, by Smirtouille © Fantasy Flight Games

The slaying of Rhaegar by Robert in the Battle of the Trident led Tywin Lannister, Lord of Casterly Rock, to march to King's Landing. Aerys opened the gates of the capital to his former Hand of the King, but Tywin's soldiers instead began the Sack of King's Landing. Tywin's son, Ser Jaime Lannister of the Kingsguard, killed his charge, King Aerys, in the throne room. Robert succeeded Aerys on the Iron Throne and wed Tywin's daughter, Cersei Lannister.[68]

House Baratheon

King Robert I Baratheon sent his Hand of the King, Lord Jon Arryn, to secure peace with Doran Martell, Prince of Dorne.[22] Robert's brother, Stannis Baratheon, led the assault on Dragonstone, the last redoubt of House Targaryen. Prince Viserys Targaryen and his infant sister, Princess Daenerys, fled into exile in the Free Cities with the aid of Ser Willem Darry.[69]

In 289 AC, Robert and his Wardens suppressed Greyjoy's Rebellion, an attempt at independence by the Iron Islands.[70]

Recent Events

A Game of Thrones

Robert I Baratheon and Eddard Stark departing Winterfell by Tomasz Jedruszek © Fantasy Flight Games

When Jon Arryn, Lord of the Eyrie, dies suddenly, King Robert I Baratheon rides to Winterfell to offer the position of Hand of the King to his childhood friend, Eddard Stark, Lord of Winterfell.[8]

Robert hosts the Hand's tourney in King's Landing,[71][72] and Eddard investigates the manner of Jon's passing.[73] After his son Tyrion is abducted by Catelyn Stark[74] and put on trial by Lysa Arryn,[75] Tywin Lannister, Lord of Casterly Rock, sends Ser Gregor Clegane to raid the riverlands in retaliation.[76]

Eddard uncovers that the children of Queen Cersei Lannister were fathered not by King Robert, but by her twin brother, Ser Jaime Lannister.[77] Robert is mortally wounded by a boar in the kingswood, and he is succeeded by his supposed eldest son and heir, King Joffrey I Baratheon.[78] Cersei becomes the regent for the young Joffrey, with Tywin as the new Hand.[79]

Open war breaks out in the Seven Kingdoms as Robb Stark marches south to rescue his father from captivity, while House Lannister invades the riverlands. Tywin is victorious over Roose Bolton, Lord of the Dreadfort, in the battle on the Green Fork,[80] but his son Jaime is captured by Robb in the battle in the Whispering Wood.[81] Against the wishes of Queen Regent Cersei, Joffrey orders the execution of Lord Stark at the Great Sept of Baelor.[82] Renly Baratheon, Lord of Storm's End, and Ser Loras Tyrell flee to Highgarden. With the support of Mace Tyrell, Lord of Highgarden and Loras's father, Renly is crowned king in opposition to Joffrey.[83] Following the Battle of the Camps, the northmen and rivermen gathered in Riverrun reject the authority of the Iron Throne and proclaim Robb to be King in the North.[84]

Outside Pentos, the exiled Daenerys Targaryen weds Drogo, a khal of the Dothraki.[28] Her elder brother, Viserys Targaryen, plans to invade the Seven Kingdoms with Drogo's khalasar, but the would-be king is killed by Drogo in Vaes Dothrak.[85] When Drogo becomes catatonic after being wounded in battle, Daenerys ends her husband's life and and then enters Drogo's funeral pyre herself. To the astonishment of her few supporters, Daenerys survives the fire and hatches her three dragon eggs.[86]

A Clash of Kings

At Dragonstone, Stannis Baratheon declares himself King of Westeros with the support of Melisandre, a red priestess.[87][88] Catelyn Stark is unable to convince the Baratheon brothers to join forces, and Renly Baratheon is assassinated by a shadow at Storm's End.[89]

Having declared independence from the Iron Throne, Robb Stark sends Ser Cleos Frey to King's Landing with his territorial demands, claiming all of the north and the lands of the Trident between the Golden Tooth and the Mountains of the Moon.[90] Tyrion Lannister, the acting Hand of the King, rejects Robb's peace offer, however.[91]

Robb sends Theon Greyjoy back to the Iron Islands to negotiate an alliance with Balon Greyjoy, Lord of the Iron Islands, suggesting he could support Balon as King of the Iron Islands if he fights Robb's enemies.[88] Balon rejects Robb's offer, however, and instead attacks the north while declaring himself King of the Isles and the North;[92] Theon leads the capture of Winterfell.[93]

Robb defeats the host of Ser Stafford Lannister in the Battle of Oxcross and has his soldiers raid the westerlands.[94] Lord Tywin Lannister marches from Harrenhal to confront Robb, but the Lannister army is turned back by Ser Edmure Tully and the rivermen in the Battle of the Fords.[95]

The High Septon is killed in the riots in King's Landing.[96] Tyrion sends Lord Petyr Baelish to negotiate an alliance between House Baratheon of King's Landing, which is supported by House Lannister, and House Tyrell.[97]

Stannis attacks King's Landing in the Battle of the Blackwater. Tywin and Lord Mace Tyrell arrive amid the battle and force Stannis to retreat.[98] Following the battle, King Joffrey I Baratheon breaks his betrothal with Sansa Stark and agrees to marry Mace's daughter, Margaery Tyrell. Petyr is named Lord Paramount of the Trident as a reward for brokering the royal alliance.[99]

Ramsay Snow's host from the Dreadfort defeats the northern host of Ser Rodrik Cassel in a battle at Winterfell. Ramsay's men then kill Theon's ironborn and burn the castle.[100]

Daenerys Targaryen guides her small khalasar through the red waste to Qarth,[101] where she survives the House of the Undying.[102]

A Storm of Swords

As the War of the Five Kings continues, the brotherhood without banners protect smallfolk in the riverlands in the name of the late King Robert I Baratheon.[103][104]

The death of Joffrey I Baratheon, by Magali Villeneuve ©

Robb Stark, King in the North, and King of the Trident, breaks his alliance with House Frey by marrying Jeyne Westerling instead of a daughter of Walder Frey, Lord of the Crossing.[105] Hoster Tully, Lord of Riverrun, passes away, and his heir, Ser Edmure Tully, agrees to wed Roslin Frey to restore Robb's alliance with Walder.[106] House Stark is betrayed by Houses Frey and Bolton in the Red Wedding, however, with Robb killed by Roose and Edmure taken captive at the Twins.[107][108] Roose is named Warden of the North.[108][109]

Balon Greyjoy, King of the Isles and the North, falls to his death at Pyke.[110]

At Dragonstone, Stannis Baratheon considers sacrificing Edric Storm to save the realm, as Melisandre claims the boy's death would awaken a stone dragon for the king and allow Stannis to stand against the Great Other.[39] Lord Davos Seaworth has Edric smuggled away, however.[111]

House Lannister appears triumphant, but King Joffrey I Baratheon chokes to death at his wedding feast after marrying Margaery Tyrell.[112] Tyrion Lannister is put on trial for the king's death,[113] and his champion, Prince Oberyn Martell, is slain by Ser Gregor Clegane in trial by combat.[114] Ser Jaime Lannister and Lord Varys help Tyrion escape the black cells, and Tyrion murders his father, Lord Tywin Lannister, before disappearing from the capital.[115]

Lysa Arryn is thrown to her death from the Eyrie by her new husband, Lord Petyr Baelish.[116]

Jeor Mormont leads the Night's Watch in a great ranging to investigate the conflict beyond the Wall, but they are attacked by wights in the fight at the Fist.[117][118] Jeor is killed in the mutiny at Craster's Keep.[119] Mance Rayder, the King-Beyond-the-Wall, commands a host of wildlings marching south to the Wall,[120] but Jon Snow and Donal Noye help defend against the wildlings' attack on Castle Black.[121] Although the wildlings' superiority in numbers makes their victory at Castle Black appear to be a matter of time, Stannis's army sails from Dragonstone to Eastwatch-by-the-Sea and then defeats Mance's wildlings in the battle beneath the Wall.[122] Stannis offers to name Jon as Lord of Winterfell, but Jon declines and is instead elected the new Lord Commander of the Night's Watch to replace Jeor.[123]

During the Targaryen campaign in Slaver's Bay, Daenerys Targaryen conquers Astapor,[124] forces Yunkai to free its slaves,[125] and conquers Meereen.[126]

A Feast for Crows

The kingsmoot on Old Wyk, by Mathia Arkoniel ©

Cersei Lannister rules as Queen Regent for King Tommen I Baratheon,[127] who weds the widowed Margaery Tyrell.[128] Paxter Redwyne, Lord of the Arbor, leads the siege of Dragonstone,[129] as the castle is held by Ser Rolland Storm for Stannis Baratheon.[130] Margaery's father, Lord Mace Tyrell, commands the siege of Storm's End, which is held by Ser Gilbert Farring for Stannis.[130] Cersei defers payments of the Iron Throne's loans to the Iron Bank of Braavos.[131]

The Crown hunts down outlaws and broken men in the riverlands, with Lord Randyll Tarly and Ser Harwyn Plumm leading the efforts at Maidenpool and Darry.[66][128] Cersei sends her brother Jaime to set Harrenhal to rights[132] and help their cousin, Ser Daven Lannister, in resolving the siege of Riverrun.[133] Jaime convinces Lord Edmure Tully to have the castle yield, but Riverrun's castellan, Ser Brynden Tully, is able to escape.[134] The brotherhood without banners hang Freys and loyalists in retaliation for the Red Wedding.[135][134]

The Lords Declarant attempt to depose Lord Petyr Baelish as Lord Protector of the Vale and the guardian of Lord Robert Arryn, but Littlefinger manipulates them into granting him a year of rule.[136]

The High Sparrow by Marc Simonetti ©

Princess Arianne Martell plots to crown Tommen's older sister, Princess Myrcella Baratheon, in Dorne, but her plot is interrupted by her father, Doran Martell, Prince of Dorne.[137][18]

To prevent Euron Greyjoy from claiming the Seastone Chair, Aeron Greyjoy calls for a kingsmoot to choose the successor of their late brother, Balon.[138] When Euron promises to conquer all of Westeros with dragons, however, the ironborn elect the Crow's Eye in the kingsmoot on Old Wyk.[139]

After the High Septon dies, sparrows orchestrate the selection of his replacement, a pious man called the High Sparrow.[140] Queen Regent Cersei allows the Faith of the Seven to reconstitute the Faith Militant.[140] Lancel Lannister, Lord of Darry, relinquishes his title and joins the Warrior's Sons.[141]

The taking of the Shields begins the ironborn's attack on the Reach.[142] In order to free the Redwyne fleet to respond to the Iron Fleet, Ser Loras Tyrell volunteers to take command of the siege of Dragonstone.[129] Loras is able to take the castle, but he is grievously wounded in the assault.[143]

Cersei arranges for Queen Margaery to be arrested by the Faith for alleged adultery and high treason.[144] Much to the queen regent's surprise, however, Cersei herself is arrested as well, being accused of murder, treason, and fornication. Lord Aurane Waters absconds from the capital with the new dromonds of the royal fleet.[144]

A Dance with Dragons

Davos Seaworth, Lord of the Rainwood, is tasked by Wyman Manderly, Lord of White Harbor, with recovering the missing Rickon Stark from Skagos.[145]

Stannis Baratheon allows wildlings who have surrendered to pass through the Wall; he and Jon Snow want them to settle the Gift and become part of the realm[146] as long as they keep the king's peace.[147] Melisandre publicly burns "Mance Rayder" (actually the Lord of Bones).[146] Stannis allies with the northern mountain clans and frees Deepwood Motte from the ironborn of Asha Greyjoy.[148][149]

Lord Roose Bolton, the new Warden of the North, returns to the north after his son, Ramsay Bolton, Lord of the Hornwood, ends the siege of Moat Cailin with the aid of Theon Greyjoy.[150][151] Ramsay weds "Arya Stark" (actually Jeyne Poole) at Winterfell,[152] and House Bolton prepares for Stannis's march on Winterfell.[153]

Aegon Targaryen, flanked by the men of the Golden Company, by Diego Gisbert Llorens © Fantasy Flight Games

Ser Balon Swann brings the Mountain's skull to Sunspear to appease House Martell. Doran Martell sends Obara Sand to search for Ser Gerold Dayne, who is accused of having attempted to kill Princess Myrcella Baratheon.[154]

Ser Jaime Lannister resolves the siege of Raventree,[155] but he then disappears in the riverlands.[156]

Instead of sailing for Westeros, Daenerys Targaryen has remained in Slaver's Bay to rule as Queen of Meereen.[157] Euron Greyjoy sends his brother Victarion with the Iron Fleet to retrieve Daenerys and her dragons.[158] Doran sends his heir, Prince Quentyn Martell, to Meereen to inform Daenerys of the secret marriage pact, but she rejects Quentyn as a suitor.[159] Quentyn dies[160] after trying to claim one of Daenerys's dragons.[161]

Instead of waiting for Daenerys, Tyrion Lannister advises Aegon Targaryen to invade Westeros while the kingdom is in disarray.[162] Jon Connington and Harry Strickland lead the landing of the Golden Company in the stormlands in support of Aegon.[163]

After Theon helps Jeyne escape Winterfell,[153] Ramsay sends a challenging letter to Jon Snow at Castle Black, claiming he has killed Stannis in battle and has captured Mance. Jon plans to march south to confront Ramsay, but the Lord Commander of the Night's Watch is attacked before he can do so in the mutiny at Castle Black.[164]

Cersei Lannister conducts a walk of atonement in preparation for her trial.[165] To aid Aegon's campaign, Varys and his little birds assassinate Grand Maester Pycelle and the Lord Regent, Ser Kevan Lannister.[166]

Quotes

The Seven Kingdoms have a very long history, and I haven't mentioned all of it... nor will I.[167]

We will have it all back someday, sweet sister. The jewels and the silks, Dragonstone and King's Landing, the Iron Throne and the Seven Kingdoms, all they have taken from us, we will have it back.[69]

His own remote ancestor, King Loren of the Rock, had tried to stand against the fire when he joined with King Mern of the Reach to oppose the Targaryen conquest. That was close on three hundred years ago, when the Seven Kingdoms were kingdoms, and not mere provinces of a greater realm.[1]

—thoughts of Tyrion Lannister

Eddard: Tell me, Lord Varys, who do you truly serve?
Varys: Why, the realm, my good lord, how ever could you doubt that? I swear it by my lost manhood. I serve the realm, and the realm needs peace.[10]

Viserys always said the Seven Kingdoms were more beautiful than any other place in the world.[101]

—thoughts of Daenerys Targaryen

Why else do we don these black cloaks, but to die in defense of the realm?[168]

Stannis: The Iron Throne is mine by rights. All those who deny that are my foes.
Renly: The whole of the realm denies it, brother. Old men deny it with their death rattle, and unborn children deny it in their mothers' wombs. They deny it in Dorne and they deny it on the Wall. No one wants you for their king. Sorry.[169]

Robert is slain, but his realm remains. And we defend her.[104]

This talk of Seven Kingdoms is a folly. Aegon saw that three hundred years ago when he stood where we are standing. They painted this table at his command. Rivers and bays they painted, hills and mountains, castles and cities and market towns, lakes and swamps and forests ... but no borders. It is all one. One realm, for one king to rule alone.[170]

I had the cart before the horse, Davos said. I was trying to win the throne to save the kingdom, when I should have been trying to save the kingdom to win the throne.[171]

It was hard work to rule a kingdom, much less seven of them.[172]

—thoughts of Cersei Lannister

The Faith Militant reborn ... that would be the answer to three hundred years of prayer, Your Grace. The Warrior would lift his shining sword again and cleanse this sinful realm of all its evil. If His Grace were to allow me to restore the ancient blessed orders of the Sword and Star, every godly man in the Seven Kingdoms would know him to be our true and rightful lord.[140]

One realm, one god, one king![146]

Notes

  1. King's Landing, Oldtown and Lannisport are the three largest cities of the realm (Fire & Blood, The Dying of the Dragons - The Blacks and the Greens). King's Landing in the most populous city, and Oldtown the second-most populous (The World of Ice & Fire, The Reach: Oldtown)

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  82. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 65, Arya V.
  83. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 69, Tyrion IX.
  84. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 71, Catelyn XI.
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  89. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 33, Catelyn IV.
  90. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 7, Catelyn I.
  91. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 20, Tyrion V.
  92. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 49, Tyrion XI.
  93. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 46, Bran VI.
  94. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 39, Catelyn V.
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  96. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 41, Tyrion IX.
  97. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 36, Tyrion VIII.
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  100. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 66, Theon VI.
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  102. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 48, Daenerys IV.
  103. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 13, Arya II.
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  115. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 77, Tyrion XI.
  116. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 80, Sansa VII.
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  118. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 18, Samwell I.
  119. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 33, Samwell II.
  120. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 7, Jon I.
  121. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 55, Jon VII.
  122. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 73, Jon X.
  123. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 79, Jon XII.
  124. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 27, Daenerys III.
  125. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 42, Daenerys IV.
  126. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 71, Daenerys VI.
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  128. 128.0 128.1 A Feast for Crows, Chapter 12, Cersei III.
  129. 129.0 129.1 A Feast for Crows, Chapter 32, Cersei VII.
  130. 130.0 130.1 A Feast for Crows, Appendix.
  131. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 17, Cersei IV.
  132. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 27, Jaime III.
  133. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 33, Jaime V.
  134. 134.0 134.1 A Feast for Crows, Chapter 44, Jaime VII.
  135. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 42, Brienne VIII.
  136. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 23, Alayne I.
  137. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 21, The Queenmaker.
  138. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 1, The Prophet.
  139. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 19, The Drowned Man.
  140. 140.0 140.1 140.2 A Feast for Crows, Chapter 28, Cersei VI.
  141. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 30, Jaime IV.
  142. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 29, The Reaver.
  143. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 36, Cersei VIII.
  144. 144.0 144.1 A Feast for Crows, Chapter 43, Cersei X.
  145. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 29, Davos IV.
  146. 146.0 146.1 146.2 A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 10, Jon III.
  147. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 53, Jon XI.
  148. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 26, The Wayward Bride.
  149. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 42, The King's Prize.
  150. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 20, Reek II.
  151. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 32, Reek III.
  152. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 37, The Prince of Winterfell.
  153. 153.0 153.1 A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 51, Theon I.
  154. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 38, The Watcher.
  155. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 48, Jaime I.
  156. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 54, Cersei I.
  157. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 2, Daenerys I.
  158. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 56, The Iron Suitor.
  159. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 43, Daenerys VII.
  160. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 68, The Dragontamer.
  161. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 70, The Queen's Hand.
  162. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 22, Tyrion VI.
  163. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 61, The Griffin Reborn.
  164. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 69, Jon XIII.
  165. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 65, Cersei II.
  166. A Dance with Dragons, Epilogue.
  167. So Spake Martin: Social Structure, Moat Cailin, and More, June 10, 2002
  168. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 43, Jon V.
  169. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 31, Catelyn III.
  170. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 36, Davos IV.
  171. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 76, Jon XI.
  172. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 24, Cersei V.